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Shell and PayPal want drivers in the UK to embrace the "Fill-Up & Go" mobile payment program, giving customers the chance to scan a QR code into the mobile app. Once a customer scans a QR code at their gas pump, they can select how much fuel they wish to purchase, and then pump the gas.
Monetary amounts are tied to each customer's PayPal account, and is designed to streamline gas purchases for commuters - and those not interested in going inside.
Both companies initially announced their testing plan in early 2015, and with half of Shell customers only purchasing gas before leaving the station, a mobile offering seems like a clever idea.
The smartphone market enjoyed a strong second quarter of 2015, with manufacturers shipping 337.2 million smartphones, according to IDC. It's an impressive 11.6 percent growth year-over-year, and is the second highest quarterly total that IDC has analyzed.
"The overall growth of the smartphone market was not only driven by the success of premium flagship devices from Samsung, Apple, and others, but more importantly by the abundance of affordable handsets that continue to drive shipments in many key markets," said Anthony Scarsella, research manager of the IDC Mobile Phone team.
Not surprisingly, Samsung and Google led the market - but Chinese smartphone manufacturers are making up ground. Samsung has 21.7 percent market share, ahead of Apple's 14.1 percent, with Huawei (8.9 percent), Xiaomi (5.3 percent), and Lenovo (4.8 percent) making gains.
It looks like mobile users are gobbling up huge amounts of mobile data, with the market estimated to reach 52 million terabytes in 2015, a whopping 59 percent year-over-year increase, according to the Gartner research group. Not surprisingly, Gartner believes the market will continue to evolve - and increase through 2018.
"Mobile data traffic is soaring worldwide, more than tripling by 2018," said Jessica Ekholm, research director at Gartner. "New, fast mobile data connections (3G and 4G) will grow more slowly, from 3.8 billion in 2015 to 5.1 billion in 2018, as users switch from slower 2G connections and consume more mobile data."
To help adapt to the changing market, Gartner recommends communication service providers (CSPs) "rethink" their data caps. During a recent survey, 36 percent of US respondents said they would wait until they arrived to a Wi-Fi area to download apps, stream video, or carry out other activities that require a large amount of data.
Chinese tech company Huawei has a lot to be happy about, with 30 percent growth in overall revenue and a massive 39 percent global smartphone sales jump during the first half of 2015.
Shipping 48.2 million units during Q1 and Q2 in 2015 gave the Chinese company a whopping 87 percent boost in handset sales - and is now competing with Xiaomi and Apple for the top spot in China. In impressing fashion, Huawei fended off a Chinese market slowdown that hit Xiaomi, Samsung and Apple in China.
Huawei, currently the No. 4 largest smartphone maker in the world, created a roadmap that focuses on low-cost models for emerging markets and high-end devices for established markets. Consumers have a large variety of different phones to choose from at the moment, with most devices powered by Google Android.
Mobile payments in the United States and UK just aren't as popular in other regions of the world, and there is a lot of work left to be done. As Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and other rival mobile payment platforms look promising, businesses must be willing to gamble on mobile payments.
Cash and debit/credit cards won't suddenly go away, and companies must inform customers while upgrading their hardware - but there is great potential for Apple, Samsung, and other companies trying to take advantage.
"Rather than seeing it as a challenge, they should take it as an opportunity to rethink their strategy," said Dan Wagner, CEO and founder of Powa Technologies, in a statement published by Tech Radar. "Taking physical cash out of the equation creates a huge amount of freedom, enabling them to completely restructure the retail experience and do away with cumbersome tills and queues entirely."
With the release of the Galaxy Note 5 reportedly pulled up into August, it looks like Samsung isn't just preparing one big phone, but two. The Galaxy S6 edge+ has just appeared in some leaked photos, with a 5.7-inch (or so) display.
Inside of the Galaxy S6 edge+ we should find the same 8-core processor that powers the S6 edge, the Exynos 7420 processor. So what's different? Well, the 5.7-inch (or so) display is much bigger than the 5.1-inch display found on the S6 edge, but it should have fans of bigger smartphones happy.
We should see the Galaxy S6 edge+ unveiled alongside the Galaxy Note 5 next month.
It looks like Samsung is reportedly preparing to unveil its new Galaxy Tab S2 tomorrow, according to Tabletmonkeys. The outfit is reporting that there will be two models; the Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 (SM-T810) and Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 (SM-T710).
The new Galaxy Tab S2 will reportedly rock a new Super AMOLED display, a 4:3 aspect ratio, a new processor, and it'll be thinner than previous models. The new screen sizes are a change from current Galaxy tablets, which are 10.5- and 8.4-inch, to 9.7 and 8-inch. This means we'll see Samsung adopting the same resolution display that the iPad Air 2 rocks: 2048x1536.
Inside, the new Galaxy Tab S2 should feature the 64-bit, 8-core Exynos 7420 processor, and 3GB of RAM. We should also see the Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 weigh just 407g, while the 8-inch model will reportedly weigh only 260g. We should expect Samsung to unveil these new slates in the next day or so.
It looks like we are going to be moving over to electronic SIMs (or e-SIMs), with both Samsung and Apple reportedly looking at adopting the new electronic SIM cards.
The benefits of e-SIMs? They are not carrier-specific, so you could switch devices between a network easily. This means that any smartphone, tablet or network-enabled smart device will work with any carrier that supports e-SIMs. Apple has previously tried to push in the use of e-SIMs with its previous generation iPads, but only T-Mobile and AT&T supported it at the time.
The Financial Times reports that Samsung and Apple are both reportedly in talks with the GSMA, the mobile telecom industry association, where we'll see e-SIM cards in future smartphones and tablets. Chief Executive of the GSMA, Anne Bouverot, told The Financial Times: "With the majority of operators on board, [t]he plan is to finalise the technical architecture that will be used in the development of an end-to-end remote SIM solution for consumer devices, with delivery anticipated by 2016".
Prison corrections services company JPay has launched the JP5mini tablet, a $70 device powered by Google Android. Apps are heavily restricted and email conversations can be closely tracked by prison officials, so inmates won't have free control over Internet access.
Since the device is designed to be used by prison inmates, it looks like JPay took a few additional precautions in regards to physical design and software.
The JP5mini is made from clear, polycarbonate plastic that prevents contraband from being easily spread through the prison facility. The OS has a secure boot loader, which will make it difficult for unauthorized operating systems and other software from being installed.
Apple has just unveiled its new 2015 iPod, which includes a bunch of new models, starting at $199 for the 16GB iPod touch. This quickly ramps up to $399, if you opt for the 128GB version.
The new iPod touch is the centerpiece of Apple's new push with the iPod this year, but there is a new iPod shuffle and nano, too. The new iPod touch features the same style, but has seen its rear-facing camera increased to an 8-megapixel shooter, while it enjoys a 64-bit A8 processor and M8 co-processor for its number-crunching prowess.
Apple's new iPod nano and iPod shuffle come in a variety of new colors including darker blue, pink, and gold. Other than that, they're the same iPod shuffle and nano that we've been used to for a while now. Apple's new iPod touch, shuffle and nano are available from the usual retailers, and Apple's website, now.